Content marketing works so well that 80% of marketers use blogs to reach consumers. The practice has been around long enough for a precise series of well-known steps to be developed for anyone wondering how to start a blog.
In this complete guide, we’ll quickly cover how to set up your successful blog, choose a blog niche, and create a content calendar. Then we’ll share how to produce quality content consistently and promote that content to get blog traffic. All the basics on how to start a blog are here.
Set Your Blog Up for Success
A big part of successful blogging is using a professional setup. A self-hosted WordPress blog is blogging’s gold standard. Self-hosted means you pay to have your blog hosted on a server. It’s got to live somewhere, right?
Your Blog Name
It’s best to name your blog to reflect the blog theme, which should match your business type. If you’re a coffee shop, you’ll probably be blogging about coffee. Buy a domain name as close as possible to your blog name and business name to help search engines classify it and your customers find it. If you own the domain and use self-hosting, you’re free to run your blog any way you choose.
Hosting Your Blog
Choosing dedicated blog hosting over shared hosting is best because your critical site load time will be faster. And be sure to check host reviews about downtime and chat help. A good blog hosting service can make or break your blog. `
Generally, smaller web hosting services like Siteground and WP Engine are better than big services like Blue Host and Host Gator because help is more capable. You don’t need hosting support often, but if your site goes down, you need someone who knows what they’re doing - not an outsourced geek.
Building Your Blog
The first step is to install WordPress. If you don’t know how, get on to chat help on your hosting platform, and they’ll do it. Next, choose a paid theme like Astra in the WordPress dashboard and install it. Then install Elementor because it’s easier and more versatile than the WordPress website builder.
Using a plugin like WP Rocket will get your page load times under one second, which you need for search engine optimization (SEO) and keeping mobile users happy. Installing the Yoast SEO Wordpress plugin will help immensely with getting your blog posts to rank on Google.
With your WordPress blog site set up, you’re ready to create a content calendar.
Decide Your Area of Focus and Goals
When figuring out how to start a blog, focus is critical in reaching and engaging your customer group. Consider these examples:
- Blog A writes about anything coffee related - the farm price of coffee beans in Kenya, the cost of industrial equipment for freeze-drying coffee, the effects of coffee on your health - it all goes in Blog A.
- Blog B focuses on how to brew and enjoy the best cup of coffee imaginable and the flavor specific to each type of coffee bean.
Which blog will attract and engage people buying coffee beans for their morning coffee fix?
Google will notice the traffic your blog is drawing and show your articles to people as it matches their search intent with the best content for them. Google knows you’re probably not going to make many retail sales of coffee beans to businesses shopping for industrial coffee equipment.
Your goals are just as critical as your focus. Goals keep your content focused on achieving crucial results. A blog can:
- Build your brand
- Attract new customers or leads
- Serve an existing community
- Attract influencers’ amplification
- Answer a question
- Contribute to a conversation
- Take a stand
- Promote a product or service
- Provide post-sales support
You can have more than one goal, but each goal will demand its content with a different slant. When you know your focus and goals, you can plan and schedule posts that reflect them in your content calendar.
Create a Content Calendar
A content calendar will keep your blog organized so that you always have content ready on the day our audience expects it. At a minimum, your calendar should show:
- Upcoming post titles and the due date
- The person responsible for writing
- Promotional efforts on email and social media
- Published content
You can create a blog content calendar in an Excel spreadsheet or use a calendar platform like monday.com. SemRush’s calendar lets you do keyword and topic research, too. When you’ve planned several months of content, you’re ready to write.
Start Writing Killer Content
Blogging’s popularity means more competition to rank your blog articles at the top of search engine result pages (SERPs) on Google and Bing. Today, professional content strategists plan content around relevant topics, Google trends, and keyword phrases before creating briefs for writers.
Then SEO writers carefully research and build blog posts of up to 3000 words that include a supporting link structure.
Most small businesses struggle to create great content in-house because so much time and expertise go into getting the desired results that using an agency or a freelance writing service is often cheaper and easier.
If you do go it alone, using a blog writer’s platform like Surfer SEO or MarketMuse will help you research keywords and the competition and write SEO content that will rank on Google.
As with most pieces of marketing its all about consistency. With a content strategy don't forget to stay consistent. It will be hard to not skip weeks , but consistency is key.
Promote Your Content
Even great content doesn’t magically jump into the top spot on Google without a bit of help. Having an initial burst of traffic flowing to your blog post alerts Google and kickstarts the process of climbing search engine ranks.
You get that initial traffic burst by promoting your blog content to your email list and social media channels. On social media, it’s critical to pick the channels your customers love to be on. Younger people like TikTok, but you’re not going to find business-to-business (B2B) there. LinkedIn might be better.
Content promotion is an entire discipline. You may need an experienced social media manager to run your effort successfully.
To get your message out there quicker it can help to build relationships with other bloggers in your space. You can exchange guest posts on each others blogs, include quotes or links to each others content, and even promote on each others social channels.
Collaboration is a key piece of getting your blog to grow.
Professionals Make Blogging Pay
In a few short years, blogging has grown from a kitchen table exercise into an industry used by everyone in content marketing, from small businesses to Fortune 500 corporations. Professionals are now involved in each step, including setting your blog up for success, content creation, promotion, and result analysis.
The experts at Scorpion can help you with every aspect of building and operating your successful blog, bringing you the results needed to get your business goals.
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